Shen hao 7X17

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by photo8x10, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. photo8x10

    photo8x10 Member

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    Hello and Happy new Year,
    I'm thinking to buy a UL camera, and I saw a 7x17 shen hao camera, the price is quite cheap, and I would like to know if someone know this kind of view camera, and if a good choise to start with format.

    Best

    Stefano :smile:
     
  2. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    The Shen Hao is clearly a rip-off of Dick Phillips 7x17 camera. I just purchased an 8x10 from Phillips and have seen his 7x17 cameras in person and know the design is amazing and the craftsmanship is amazing as well. ShenHao may have copied his design, but they cannot copy his quality.
    I would suggest getting in touch with Dick Phillips and seeing if he can make you a 7x17 or if theire is anyone that has one for sale used, he would know.

    Here is a few SERIOUS problems I have with the Shen Hao 7x17.

    First off, it's $4,000.00. There are other 7x17 cameras that are far better in about the same price range.

    Second, it only has 24" of bellows extention!!! That is absolutly terrible. With using larger camears, you must use larger lenses. With the Shen Hao, you could not even use a 24" lens! For this format, a 24" lens is fairly normal. So, the camera would limit you only using short lenses and not being able to do much close-up work where the bellows are usually extended.

    For a few hundred dollars more, you can get a nice Canham that is of far better quality, and has either 36" or 48" bellows.

    Here is some discussion about the camera-http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=15297

    My first suggestion is to contact Dick Phillips and see if there is anyway you can get a 7x17 from him. It would be around the same price, lighter weight, and a better made camera. If that does not work out, then think about a Canham or Wisner.

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net
     
  3. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    I have a 4X5 Shen Hao and a 7X17 Korona. Both are well-made cameras that I enjoy using. A 7X17 Shen Hao should be a well-made camera since the Chinese are aggressively pursueing the LF & ULF markets. A caveat, though, is it does seem to take Shen Hao one or two versions to work out any kinks in their new lines.

    As far as lenses, I use a 265mm Ilex for the 7X17. For the panorama format I would think a wide-angle lens may be all you need; so the lack of bellows extension for both the Korona & Shen Hao should not be a problem.

    Concerning price, the best bargains of course are in used equipment market. The hidden cost is the holders - new sell for around $400, and even used are usually $200-300.
     
  4. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Hi Stefano,

    Kerry Thalmann is going to begin distributing Chamonix cameras as the North American distributor. You may wish to read the following thread from Large Format Photography Forum:

    Comparing 20x24's? - Large Format Photography Forum

    Hope this helps.

    Rich
     
  5. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Stefano,

    Dick Phillips announced last Fall that he would not be making any more 7x17 cameras. He wants to enjoy his retirement. There were only 15 or 16 of the 7x17s made, so finding a used one can be difficult. It is a landscape camera. The bellows is short allowing focus between 120mm and 660mm (26 inches). I do use a 600mm Fuji C quite often. My favorite lens is a 12 inch gold ring Dagor (300mm). It all depends on your subject and how you think.

    Richard Ritter's camera is of great interest to many people considering a new 7x17. There is much discussion about this on APUG and the LF Form. Here is his web site. LARGE FORMAT workshops R T RITTER

    Besides film holders another thing that needs planning is where and how to buy film. Not only is it expensive, but you need to find a source that carries it or you need to order once a year if you want Kodak or Ilford. Much has also been written on this subject.

    Good luck,

    John Powers
     
  6. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    Looks like Chamonix took the Phillips design also.

    It's good to see that there is still new companies coming into making ULF cameras, and there is still a strong interest in them. It's just to bad that China has to make things so cheap that it hurts the US camera makers that are producing a better produce. I guess that is what China does with nearly everything however!

    Well, the Chamonix is surly another possiblity for probably a cheeper price, but I still suggest contacting Dick Phillips to see if you can get the real thing, rather than a china copy.

    EDIT-I just saw that someone posted above that Dick is no longer making any 7x17 cameras, thats really too bad. Best forget I said anything.

    Personally, I think that R. Ritter's cameras looks like tons of scrap pieces of cameras all hooked together. It's certainly not attractive looking. I also don't like the way the camera looks when closed up...it looks very large. For the price, it might be one of your better deals for a ULF camera however.



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2007
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Stefano,

    I saw the new Shen Haos at photokina, and they seem always to be better and better built.

    The designer is a real enthusiast, but I'm not so sure about how practical it is to do business with Shen Hao.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    While I have not personally dealt with Shen Hao, there are a number of photographers who have dealt directly with them and have reported very good experiences with Shen Hao. I considered a Shen Hoa 5X7 before I bought my Wisner. Had I not found a used Wisner, I would have probably bought the Shen Hoa direct since Badger does not carry the full Shen Hao line...at least in the 5X7 size. The quality and value has been reported, by users of the camera, as being excellent.

    Phillips, while making excellent cameras by all reports, would concern me because what happens, in the area of customer support, when he finally decides to close down operations totally?

    Had Ron Wisner not reopened his business, I would not have purchased the Wisner that I have.
     
  9. User Removed

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  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Interesting thread, Jorge before his exile suggested I might want to shoot ULF.

    Just tried searching for a Phillips 8x10 and all I can find are 10"x8" images of a big guy wearing white clothes with black stripes playing the old scottish game of rounders.

    Any chance of a link to the camera manufacturer.

    Ian
     
  11. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    As Rich mentioned, I am in the process of becoming the exclusive North American distributor for Chamonix ULF cameras and film holders. We hope to be up and running and ready to start taking orders by the end of the month.

    I'd like to add a little information and clear up a couple misconceptions listed above.

    First, just let me say I have nothing but respect and admiration for Dick Phillips. He is a true innovator, a master camera builder and a heck of a nice guy. I would never do anything to offend Dick or harm his business in any way. In fact, when I received a 7x17 Chamonix a couple months ago, the first thing I did was call Dick. As others have noted, the Chamonix cameras are clearly based on Dick's design. There are a few minor changes, but the basic design is the same.

    From prior conversations, I knew the batch of 7x17s Dick built last spring would be the last ULF cameras he would ever build. Still, I wanted to get Dick's input before agreeing to distribute the Chamonix cameras and holders. In his usual gracious and humble manner, Dick told me he was flattered that someone liked his design enough to copy it. He not only gave me his approval to import the Chamonix camera and holders, he encouraged me to do so - recognizing there is an eager market for ULF cameras and holders that needs to be filled - especially with Dick himself leaving this market segment.

    From my phone conversation with Dick Phillips I also learned that the batch of 8x10 Explorers he plans to build this year will be the last 8x10s he intends to build. The physical labor required to build these cameras, and the time involved is considerable. Dick would like to start spending his retirement years pursuing other leisure activities - including photography. He's definitely earned the right to do so.

    While Chamonix also makes an 8x10, we have no immediate plans to import this model. The 8x10 market is already well served, and frankly I just wouldn't feel right selling a camera based on his design while Dick is still making and selling cameras in this size. Once Dick's last batch of 8x10s is built and sold, we may revisit the possibility of importing the 8x10 Chamonix. For now, our focus is on the 7x17 and larger ULF market.

    While the Shen-Hao name is better known to most in this forum, the Chamonix cameras actually pre-date the Phillips based Shen-Hao FCL series (including their 7x17 model). While the Chamonix brand may be new to many outside of China, they have been making ULF cameras and holders for the rapidly growing domestic Chinese ULF market since 2003. The Chamonix design is much closer to the original Phillips than the Shen-Hao. And while the materials differ from those used by Dick Phillips, the Chamonix cameras share Dick's basic philosophy of building lightweight, rigid cameras with only the features necessary to get the job done. Unnecessary "features" add cost, add weight and reduce rigidity. In fact, the 7x17 camera I received from Chamonix for evaluation actually weighs less than a genuine 7x17 Phillips. This particular sample weighs 8 lb. 14½ oz. (although the official advertised weight for this model will be 9.25 lbs to allow for minor sample-to-sample variations).

    Like the Phillips and the Shen-Hao, the maximum bellows extension on the 7x17 Chamonix is rather limited. This is a design trade-off necessary to meet the other desired attributes of lightest possible weight while still maintaining sufficient rigidity at full extension. That said, I have successfully used the 600mm Fujinon C on the Chamonix for general landscape photography. Obviously, you can't do close-ups with this lens on this camera, but with a maximum extension of 610mm, the 7x17 Chamonix has enough extension to use this lens (ftf = 573mm) for more distant subjects. For those who wish to do true macro work, it is possible to reach 1:1 magnification with a 305mm G Claron on the 7x17 Chamonix. In a heavier camera, I would expect a longer maximum bellows extension, but for a 9 lb. 7x17, a 24" (610mm) max. extension seems like a very reasonable compromise.

    When I built my 7x17 Franken-ARCA last year, based on feedback I received in this forum, I also chose to limit the bellows extension of my design around using the 600mm Fujinon C as my longest lens on this format. This was a deliberate decision to keep the weight and bulk of the camera reasonable (and it still weighs 4 lbs. more than a 7x17 Chamonix). I have been happy with this compromise and have enjoyed using my camera with lenses from 240mm - 600mm. For my purposes, the 7x17 Chamonix works well with the same range of focal lengths (both cameras could also handle lenses considerably shorter than 240mm, but I don't own any that cover the format).

    Obviously, anyone who wants to use longer lenses, or do close-ups with a 600mm lens, would be better served with a different (bigger, heavier, more expensive) camera. Horses for courses. Like the Phillips on which it is based, the Chamonix cameras are best suited to general purpose landscape photography where compact size and light weight take priority over maximum bellows extension.

    The Chamonix ULF cameras and film holders are available in formats from 7x17 - 20x24 (including several formats never built by Phillips, or by Shen-Hao).

    While we won't be giving them away, our goal is to keep the prices of the Chamonix ULF cameras and film holders as low as possible to allow more photographers the opportunity to enter the wonderful world of ULF photography. The goal is to get as many people as possible shooting ULF film. If we can help grow the market for ULF film, we all win. To that end, I wish all my competitors a successful and prosperous 2007. I hope you all sell as many cameras and holders as you can possibly build. What's good for you is good for me. We're all in this together.

    My original intent was to review the 7x17 Chamonix camera and holders for View Camera magazine. Once Chamonix asked me to become their distributor, I was no longer an unbiased source. As much as I'd try to write a fair, honest, unbiased review, there would always be a fundamental, underlying conflict of interest in reviewing a product where I have a financial interest. So, I have sent the 7x17 Chamonix to Michael Mutmansky to review for the Mar/Apr issue of View Camera. Michael is also reviewing Richard Ritter's 7x17 for the same issue. It's not every day a new ULF camera comes to market. Personally, even if I wasn't involved with Chamonix, I would be very excited about the availability of TWO new ULF brands entering the marketplace. 2007 looks to be a great year for those practicing ULF photography, and those about to attempt it for the first time. I wish you all well.

    Kerry
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Part of the attraction of 7x17 for me is that it's a relatively light, manageable format, and cameras like the Korona are about as portable as an 8x10". 8x20" and larger formats seem like a lot more camera, so a double extension 7x17 is perfect for what I see myself using it for.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I apologize if my comment came over as unduly negative. My concerns were (a) the limited command of English I have encountered on the Shen Hao stand and (b) the sheer hassle of personal imports.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
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  15. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    No offense taken. I personally communicated with the owner or principle of Shen Hao when I was exploring purchasing directly (because Badger did not carry the longer bellows extension camera) and we communicated quite effectively at that time. Sofar as personal imports, perhaps that is a different situation here in the US. Sandy King, for one, had a very smooth transaction purchasing directly.

    I have no vested interest...since I do not own a Shen Hao camera.
     
  16. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Kerry, Do they offer a 14 x 17 model?
     
  17. Amund

    Amund Member

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    I have bought cameras directly from Shen-Hao twice, no problems at all.
    They`re not very good in English, but that wasn`t really a problem.

    And what hassles with personal imports? It may be different here in Norway? The cameras came with Fed-Ex, wich takes care of customs clearance, all I have to do is pay the customs bill, wich they send by mail a few days later.
     
  18. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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  19. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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  20. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Yes, they do. In fact, I'm considering 14x17 myself as most of the lenses I have for 7x17 have enough coverage to be usable on 14x17.

    Kerry
     
  21. photo8x10

    photo8x10 Member

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    Thanks a lots for all your advices, I have lots to read to see and to think.
    After I've done it, I'll make a decision....about what camera I'll buy.
    You have given me lots information(bellow extension,I haven't tought about it), distributors, brands that I don't know well, great informations to decided what camera to buy! :confused:

    Best

    Stefano
     
  22. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Sefano,

    Best of luck in your search. Regardless of what brand you buy, 7x17 is a great format. As David mentioned above, it's small enough to be portable, but still gives a nice size contact print. There are also options for lenses capable of covering 7x17 that won't break the bank when buying them, or break your back when carrying them (my standard lens kit for 7x17 consists of 240mm, 305mm, 450mm and 600mm lenses with a total weight of less than 5 lbs. for all four lenses). 7x17 was my format of choice when I decided to finally jump up to ULF last year. Thanks to Ilford, Kodak and J&C, film choices for 7x17 are more plentiful than ever. Now is a great time to be a ULF photographer. I hope you decide to give it a try.

    Kerry
     
  23. photobum

    photobum Member

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    A few more thoughts on this. It was indeed at least a year ago that Mr. Phillips said that he would no longer make any ULF cameras. As to Kerry Thalmann, almost two years ago I bought a 240mm lens from him. It did not quite focus right. I believe that the rear spacers were off by a touch. Because I was rebuilding my darkroom I did not realize this until some months later. Kerry replaced it with a new lens before I even returned the old lens to him. This was done well beyond any reasonable time limit. I would trust Kerry with any sale on any equipment at any time. He stands behind what he sells.

    That Michael Mutmansky is going to test the Chamonix is interesting because it was Mr. Mutmansky who vehemently opposed the Shen-Hao as a Phillips copy about a year ago. Michael is lucky in that he has one of the last Phillips 7x17's.

    Shen-Hao did not drive Mr. Phillips out of business or even steal any. Mr. Phillips can sell all the 7x17's he is willing to build, which is none. Shen-Hao did not drive Mr. Wisner out of business. Ron shot himself by very crappy business practices. He may be able to hang on but he has to overcome his own reputation not Shen-Hao, Chamonix, Richard Ritter or anyone else.

    BTW, Ryan if and when your Phillips ever needs repair it is likely that Mr. Ritter will be the best man to work on it. You should be nice to him.
     
  24. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    Stefano, as an owner of a Richard Ritter 7x17 camera, I would strongly suggest you consider this camera prior to making your decision. The link is listed above, but this camera has 34" of bellows, easily converts from horizontal to vertical (this is a HUGE advantage over other designs), has a bail back and is extremely light weight.....all this for $3,400. One other advantage to Richard's camera is that if you ever decide you want to try 11x14, 8x20, 12x20, 14x17, 16x20 or 20x24 all you need to do is purchase another back and bellows from Richard and you are good to go. You see, the rail system is the same for all these formats, so changing formats is a matter of loosening a few screws and you are good to go. While I'm not sure I will ever change from 7x17, the fact that going to 12x20 would not be another major expense, at least not for the camera, was a major consideration in choosing Richard's camera.

    I've had my camera since September and have put about 50 sheets of film through it. I wouldn't trade it for any other ULF camera on the market.

    While Ryan doesn't like the look of the camera, I love the look and find the carbon fiber rail system a stroke of genius. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    One final consideration is that you have the ability to call Richard and discuss any special customizations you might want for your camera. I'm left handed and Richard offered to build me a "left handed" camera (I think that means the film holders would load from the left side of the camera vs the right side), but since all my other cameras are "right handed" I had Richard not make this modification for me, but I did have Richard custom make me a lens board adapter so that I could use my Zone VI lens boards.

    No matter what camera you choose, welcome to the ULF world. I know you will enjoy it, and as Kerry stated the more folks we can add to our numbers the better it is for all of us. I believe it was Michael Mutmansky who stated that Kodak was "blown away" by the volume of 7x17 TMax film that JandC sold during the special order last year.
     
  25. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Jim,

    Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad the second lens worked out for you better than the first. Regardless of the time frame involved, replacing it with a new lens was the right thing to do.

    Originally, I had signed up to review both Richard Ritter's camera and the Chamonix camera and holders. All that changed once Chamonix asked me to become their distributor. So, after kicking the idea around with Richard, Steve Simmons and Ted Harris, Michael was selected to review the cameras. As you note, Michael has experience with a 7x17 Phillips. He is a very experienced ULF photographer and has had several other articles and equipment reviews published. There is no doubt in my mind he is the right person to write the reviews and I'm sure he'll do a great job.

    Like most (all) Phillips owners, Michael is very loyal to Dick Phillips. I don't consider that a fault. Dick is just the kind of guy who earns the respect, affection and loyatly of everyone he meets. Heck, I don't even own one of his cameras and I still have immense respect, admiration and fondness for the man. I actually had a chance to buy THE last 7x17 Phillps last spring, but was just about done building my 7x17 Franken-ARCA. So, I passed on the opportunity and it ended up in the hands of a lucky friend and fellow APUGer. I got to see and fondle the camera in person, and it is indeed everything Phillips cameras and known for. Anyone who owns one is indeed very fortunate.

    Kerry
     
  26. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    Jim,

    While I fundamentally dislike people or companies that unashamedly knock off products or ideas, that doesn't mean that the product they produce is junk. It means they have put little effort into developing their own materials, and are riding the coattails of another.

    My point in the original thread is that I am willing to spend the money with the original camera maker (Phillips) for multiple reasons, but one of those reasons is to support those who actually are producing an innovative product. That is somewhat irrelevant now that it is apparent that Dick is going to cut back on making cameras substantially. If the Phillips 7x17 option is not available, then it will not be possible to support the original designer. That discussion was about 8x10 cameras, which at the time Dick was still producing, if I recall correctly.

    People vote with their dollars, and if you don't think about that every time you pull out a card to fill up the tank or go into WalMart, that's your business. I generally do, and so rather than save a little on a knockoff, I prefer to purchase the original.

    It's funny that you think I'm 'lucky' to have a Phillips 7x17. I think I was the reason that Dick produced the batch, as I had been nudging him to make them for more than five years. I'm not lucky, I'm persistant, and I had to sell some gear to pay the bill.

    The truely lucky person will be the one who asks me where one of the last Phillips 7x17's may be available for sale, as I know someone who may decide to part with one.

    ---Michael
     
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